Picture this—it’s a balmy night in Melbourne, you’re sitting on the balcony overlooking Bourke Street, sipping on a Sakura Collins cocktail and feasting on some sashimi that literally looks too good to eat. Welcome to Yokochō, the brand new Japanese venture by Benny Lui, the brains behind Seoulja Boy.
Yokochō is minimalistic and simple, but it’s not for scoring cheap and easy style points. There's some thinking behind it. Benny wants people “to come here, enjoy some good food and drink and just relax.” He doesn’t want people to dress up—in fact he wants to fill the gap between Japanese fine dining and the cheap takeaway options you can find on every CBD street corner.
Benny knows all about hospitality. His family migrated here over 40 years ago and have been in the industry ever since. “I realised after learning the business inside out that Japanese food and drink was my passion," he says. And boy, are we thankful.
You’re spoilt for choice at Yokocho. The aim of the menu is to embrace the Japanese eating and drinking culture, and “bring Melbourne traditional Japanese dishes and make them modern” (and damn delicious).
We recommend the combination sashimi—make sure you take a photo first though, the colours of the fish are jaw-dropping amazing. The tempura king prawns are also a big hit. Don’t be afraid to order the raw beef Yukee either. It’s waaaay more delicious (and prettier) than it sounds, and it’s not commonly done in Australia, so you’ll be ahead of the game. Bragging rights included. Don’t forget the honey toast for dessert.
When thirst hits, the options are endless. You’ve got classic cocktails that everyone loves, although Benny has “added a twist that you can’t get anywhere else”. Of course, cult faves like sake are also up for grabs.
If you're a fan of things like sashimi and happiness, give Yokocho a try.
Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis